Why not use an 80 – 90’s Mtb as your commuter

In my mind late 80’s and early 90’s MTBs make ideal commuting bikes for loads of various reasons .



Giant Terrago


A lot of them were available with good quality tubesets ie various grades of Tange and Reynolds spring to mind straight away never mind early 4130 cro mo that came along a bit later . All of these should provide a decent quality ride .



Most of them won’t have heavy suspension either which I always feel to be totally pointless unless you are hurtling down a bumpy dirt track instead of just trundling along a paved cycle path on your way to the office .



Giant Terrago


The majority will have at least 18 speeds and there is a good bet that the small “ Granny Ring ” won’t have seen any or had very little useage in its life time and if you are lucky they will be paddle controlled rather than twist gripped . A lot of them came with tried and tested shimano running gear as well .



R.E.W Reynolds


The first modification to make is to throw the big fat knobbly tyres away and fit some more road friendly tyres that won’t howl once you reach a certain speed like the big open treaded knobbly ones will do . The other advantage of road friendly tyres is that they are a lot easier to keep rolling along than a set of knobbly’s. The vast if not all will be running on 26” wheels so loads of choice should new rims be required .



Another strong point is the Cantilever braking systems are normally fairly strong in standard format never mind with the adoption of some newer style brake pads like Kool stop. Okay they won’t give you the stopping power of a set of modern disc brakes but they will do the job well enough with some general servicing and up keep .

Marin Bear Valley


Most of the other items like seat posts, stems and bars will be alloy items not steel so again a lot lighter than their steel cousins . Some makers also did some of these components with nice colours rather than the plain old alloy or black finish . People like Girvin offered a quill stem with some suspension built in as well , these are quite sort after today .



Girvin Flex Stem


So all in all there is no need to go and buy a brand new bike just for commuting just keep an eye out for local sales of decent quality 80 & 90’s Mtb’s and save yourself some money as well.

2016 So far


It’s no wonder my garage is full when I look at the list below of what I have bought during 2016 , the only good thing is that 65% have also been sold during 2016 along with a few others I purchased in 2015 .


The ones that I have not sold are either in use or in the  “awaiting work” corner of the garage . As can be seen in the list below it’s been a diverse year for sure, quite a few out and out touring style bikes and a few non road bikes just for a bit of variety and a fair few more modern than normal machines as well .


Giant Terrago

A few of them have been a pleasure to own and ride, others have been just a means to an end so to speak , whilst some have been a real disappointment . The biggest disappointment must have been the Planet X pro carbon. It had all the reasons to be a long term keeper for sure but it ended up spending less than 2 weeks in the garage before being sold on due to the amount of noise it emitted as I rode along on anything less than billiard table smooth tarmac and as we all know there are not that many smooth roads in the United Kingdom .


Wester Ross

The highlights for 2016 are harder to decide, it was certainly a pleasurable thing to have owned and ridden one of the 477 Wester Ross’ ever made. Other notable bikes have to include the 1950’s Pollard which was a real delight to own for a few months before selling it on to a friend of the Pollard family who now has the largest collection of Pollards . The Simoncini that arrived in June is another high point in the year , having been looking for one for a few years it was nice to finally get one just a shame it was a bit on the larger side of rideable but for the moment it’s in the keeping section and I keep thinking about updating the gearing system to include sti’s .



The bike that I think I have done the most miles on in 2016 is either my long term keeper red Ian May or the Ian May that turned up in June both of which have covered close to 500+ miles each . Whereas the Carrera Virtuoso that turned up in November only did 1 lap of the cul de sac i.e. less than a mile before being sold  .


So with less than 15 days to go before the end of 2016 I doubt there will be any or many more arrivals but you never know ……


January =  Peugeot savoie, Genesis flyer and Peugeot Professional


Peugeot Professional

Febuary = Wester Ross and  Raleigh royal


March = 1950’s Raleigh Roadster


Raleigh Roadster

April  = Pollard & Webster by Lee cooper frameset



May = No New Arrivals


June = Simoncini & Ian May


Ian May 4th

July = Mans & Ladies Bromwich & Sigma


Bromwich Mixte

August = R.E.W Reynolds & Giant terrago mtb


September = Pennine , Lee cooper frame & Lomas


G.E.R Lomas


Pennine Italia


October = Specialized allez , Planet x pro carbon & Puch Mirage


Planet x Pro Carbon

November =  Claud Butler Odeyssey , Trek 1.1, Carrera Virtuoso ,Genesis cdf & Trek 400


Genesis cdf

December =  Neutron frameset & GT Outpost Trail mtb

28 bikes in and 18 of them sold

My 2016 Winter Bikes

My two winter bikes are so different to each other……


The Lomas is a nice bike to ride that seems to eat the miles without you realising how many you have actually covered. The set up I have is ideal for me , the newly rebuilt 27” x 1 1/14 wheels with Schwalbe tyres fitted give it a smooth feel on the road and the tyres throw up loads of water to make the going as sure footed as possible when the going gets wet .



G.E.R Lomas

The old centre pull calipers that are fitted with Kool stop pads work as well as expected when you give the levers enough pressure to activate them via the new cable I fitted during its re commissioning .



G.E.R Lomas

The gearing has so far been up to all the tasks I have asked of it, with a 52/42 chain set and a six speed rear cog set that ranges from 28 down to 13 from memory provide enough pace to roll along without spinning myself into oblivion and also give me enough climbing power to pedal my way to the top of any hill I have found so far on its travels around the corner of Northamptonshire I live and ride in .


G.E.R Lomas


Its bright orange paintwork makes it stand out from the more mundane darker matt colours that most new bikes seem to be offered with these days.



Genesis cdf

The second of my winter bikes is the mid 1980’s Puch Mirage which feels a much more nimble machine to ride with its Reynolds 501 tubing and a set of front forks that are made with Puch’s own grade chro mo . This makes for a nice lively set up which is also stiff when stamping on the pedals .



Puch Mistral se


This bike was originally supplied with sprint and tubs from new so to keep its light weight image I opted for a set of 700c Campagnolo Berlin 36 rimmed training wheels fitted with 700 x 23 Vittorio Rubino tyres . This is a nice set of wheels and tyres that ride lovely but when you are on smooth tarmac you can just about feel a slight vibration but seeing as smooth tarmac is a rarity it’s not an issue to me .



Puch Mistral se


With the use of some P clips I have even fitted a nice set of white Blumel Classique guards to this white bike and even if I say so myself it all adds up to a nice pretty looking bike with the original matching decals . These guards make the bike much more useable in the Great British weather and they also save the back of your clothing being splattered with all sorts of thrown up road spray .



Puch Mistral se

The “Golden Arrow “ group set is still complete apart from the crankset which has been replaced by a Campagnolo unit as I have still not been able to separate the crank from the bottom bracket spindle . The calipers have been fitted with some rather noisy in action Clarke pads that actually do provide some all-round stopping power . The gear changes are nice and crisp in action now that the original cables have been replaced with some new ones along with new chain and 7 speed rear cassette .



Puch Mistral se


I am looking forward to covering plenty of winter miles on both of these bikes over the next few months unless of course somebody comes along with an offer I can’t refuse ………..